Who speaks Indonesian?
July 22, 2006 1:48 AM   Subscribe

Does any one speak Javanese? I need a Javanese or Indonesian translation of a couple of words for a Tsunami Relief Concert.

In the upcoming weeks, I am promoting a tsunami relief concert for the Indonesian Red Cross to help rebuild after the terrible incident last Monday. We have yet to name this benefit concert, and we were looking for an authentic Javanese word that translated to something along the lines of "help" or "survive" or "benefit," whichever has the best ring to it.

If no here speaks Javanese, we'd settle for an Indonesian tranlation as well. Any other words that might be appropriate, in either of those languages, are welcomed as suggestions as well.
posted by FearAndLoathingInLJ to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Couldn't you ask the Indonesian Red Cross?
posted by reklaw at 1:54 AM on July 22, 2006

FearAndLoathinginLJ, I teach English in Bandung, Indonesia and can ask my Sundanese/Indonesian-speaking coworkers on Monday (it's currently about 5 in the afternoon on Saturday here) if that's soon enough. I don't know any Javanese speakers.

Keep in mind that a) the areas affected might speak Sundanese and/or Javanese - two very different languages, and b) far more people across the archipelago will understand a Bahasa Indonesia slogan.

Thanks for remembering my current corner of the world!
posted by mdonley at 3:00 AM on July 22, 2006


tolong hidup terus

I'd dispense with the local language stuff unless you're very sure of the region and what's spoken there.

literal translation:

tolong: please help (there is no please in indonesian the way it's used in english - lolong is like an urgent request for assistance.

hidup: life

terus: straight ahead

aside: indonesian often uses compounds to make new words, for example:

kamar kecil (c pronounced ch) - room little - toilet

kupu-kupu malam - butterfly night - prostitute
posted by singingfish at 6:13 AM on July 22, 2006

Javanese could be a real minefield, with all the krama/madya/ngoko levels of speech going on. I honestly don't know to what extent that affects Sundanese.

I don't think locals would mind you using Bahasa Indonesia, advertisers and broadcasters use it as a 'neutral' way of addressing people when you don't or can't know their social status. It should seem like the 'normal' thing to do.
posted by gimonca at 7:18 AM on July 22, 2006

I agree with gimonca: unless you really know Javanese well, it would be easy to make a mistake that would put off the intended audience. Everyone will understand Bahasa Indonesia, and that's what they'll expect to see on a public notice.
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers thus far.

reklaw, I was going to ask the Indonesian Red Cross, but I am located in the US, short on personal funds, and all out of international calling card minutes (Could there be an alternate, free solution to this problem? VOIP maybe?). Otherwise, your solution would have been my first reaction.

mdonley, that would sure be appreciated, I can definitely wait until Monday. Do you know which dialect you would provide? gimonca and languagehat make it sound like I'm after Bahasa Indonesian, but lacking that, I'll take what I can get.

Thanks again.
posted by FearAndLoathingInLJ at 9:55 AM on July 22, 2006

Fear: Skype?
posted by baylink at 12:32 PM on July 22, 2006

Happy to offer. I will ask for the most correct, neutral version of the words/message you're trying to convey. Will the concert be in the US or in Indonesia? You say it's a benefit, but don't say where.

And regarding which "dialect" I can provide, you should know that Indonesian, Sundanese, and Javanese are all (quite) different, non-mutually intelligble languages with tens/hundreds of millions of culturally distinct speakers.

Aside: Every day, I see borrowed/adapted words from other languages as diverse as Dutch (polisi: police), Portuguese (meja: table; keju: cheese), Arabic (selamat: a greeting, like "salam") and Chinese (mie: noodles). It's totally fascinating.

Thanks again for your efforts.
posted by mdonley at 1:26 AM on July 23, 2006

Response by poster: The concert is being held August 19th in San Diego, California, at the Che Cafe, on the UCSD campus.
posted by FearAndLoathingInLJ at 4:20 PM on July 23, 2006

Best answer: The word you want, according to my colleagues, is bantu.

From the dictionary:

bantu help, aid, cooperation, support; assistance; relief

other forms:

membantu to help, to assist, to come to a person's aid; to contribute, to promote, to further, to facilitate

pembantu helper, assistant, cooperator, accomplice, accessory; colloquially, a servant

A poster that said "Bantu Indonesia/Java/wherever" would be fine.
posted by mdonley at 6:21 AM on July 25, 2006

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